Mini blackberry cheesecakes

This weekend was we had a neighbourhood barbecue, where my main responsibility was to lay on a good spread of cake.

Last year I made five different cakes, all of which went down well, so expectations were high. As we were away on a camping trip last week I didn’t have much time to prepare, so I had to make a fairly speedy shortlist of cakes, to try and cover off enough different tastes that there would be something for everyone.

Annoyingly I didn’t get any photos of the whole spread, so I’ll just have to blog them one by one, starting with these – mini blackberry cheesecakes.

The blackberry season isn’t really in full swing here yet, but there were enough on the bushes within a 5 minute walk of my house to whip up these dead simple individual cheesecakes.

There’s something about the deep purple of cooked blackberries that I just can’t resist, and I can’t think of a better base for them than a baked cheesecake. These mini cheesecakes are brilliant because they’re so much quicker to make than a normal cheesecake and it makes the recipe easier to scale up or down depending on how many you need.

This is definitely not going to be the last time you see mini cheesecakes here – I’m already thinking about making another batch with the last of the summer peaches, and then move on to apples, pears and other autumn flavours…

Mini blackberry cheesecakes (recipe adapted from All Recipes)

Makes 8

  • 65g hobnobs
  • 15g butter, melted
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 150g blackberries
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour

Blitz the hobnobs in a food processor until they form fine crumbs, then pour in the melted butter while the mixer is running. Spoon the crumbs into 8 cupcake cases and press down with the back of a spoon, then bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.

While the bases are baking, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla and lemon zest and juice together until smooth and creamy. Once the based are done, pour the cheesecake mixture on top and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until firm and turning golden around the edges. Leave to cool.

For the topping, heat 100g of the blackberries with 1 tbsp sugar, 1tbsp water and 1 tbsp flour, stirring until the berries break down and the liquid thickens. Spread on top of the cheesecakes. Heat the remaining 50g of blackberries with the second tbsp of sugar, but stop before the berries turn into mush, and spoon the still whole berries on top of the jammy layer. Leave in the fridge to set, then remove from the cupcake cases and serve.

Still to come from my barbecue cake spread are chocolate orange fudge cake, lime drizzle cake, millionaire’s shortbread and strawberries and cream bars – pictured above with the blackberry cheesecakes. Keep an eye out for them appearing here soon!


Strawberry cheesecake

Cheesecake is pretty much my favourite dessert, and is (I think) perfect for any time of the year as it’s so adaptable.

I was determined to wait until June to bake anything with strawberries so I could use the best, sweetest, British ones. June 1 is the friendly pony’s mum’s birthday, and every time we talk about baking she mentions how much she loved a cheesecake I made a couple of years ago, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to celebrate strawberry season with a fresh strawberry cheesecake.

I used my go-to cheesecake recipe for the filling, with a gingernut base, white chocolate cream cheese topping and plenty of delicious strawberries – which I tried to arrange in a kind of arty way, not sure if I pulled it off!

I didn’t get many pictures of it as I always feel a bit awkward getting my camera out at someone else’s house – do any other bloggers get that?!

As the theme for this month’s Tea Time Treats challenge, hosted by Kate of What Kate Baked, is summer fruits, I am entering this. I can’t wait to see the round up for some more fruity inspiration – it’s what summer baking is all about!

Strawberry cheesecake

Cuts into 10-12 slices

For the cheesecake:

  • 200g gingernut biscuits
  • 30g butter, melted
  • 900g full-fat cream cheese
  • 3tbsp cornflour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 375ml double cream

For the topping:

  • 100g cream cheese
  • 50g white chocolate
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 400g strawberries

To make the base, blitz the biscuits in a food processor until finely ground, then slowly add in the butter – it should look like wet sand, if it seems a bit dry then add a little more butter. Press into the base of a 9″ round springform cake tin, and bake at 180 degrees for 8 minutes. Leave to cool while you make the filling.

Beat the cream cheese to soften, then add the sugar and cornflour and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon juice and zest and fold in the cream. Pour onto the base, then place on the middle shelf of the oven with a tray of hot water on the shelf below. Bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees, then turn the heat down to 110 and bake for another hour and a half. Turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake inside to cool for at least 4 hours. When cool, move to the fridge to chill.

For the topping, melt the white chocolate then beat into the cream cheese with the icing sugar and spread over the cheesecake. Wash and hull the strawberries, then slice lengthways into 3 or 4 pieces. Arrange in circles on top of the cheesecake, using the biggest pieces first around the edge then working your way towards the middle using the smaller pieces. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

100 posts, a new look, and a lemon ginger cheesecake

I only started this blog as a way of keeping track of what I’d baked, so I’ve kind of surprised myself by reaching 100 posts, in just under a year (and I can’t even begin to think about how much money I must have spent on ingredients to have baked 100 things…)

Rather than celebrating with a cake (I’ll save that for my first blogiversary next month), I decided to treat the hungy hinny to a bit of a revamp, with a new look which I hope makes it a bit simpler and easier to read.

I’m also planning to move from to just – hopefully that won’t destroy the links to all the previous posts…

On to the tasty stuff, I made this cheesecake last weekend as a bit of a pre-birthday treat to myself – for once ignoring everything the pony likes and making something just for me.

Not that I got to eat very much of it, the combined efforts of the pony and my step dad’s gigantic appetites meant that in the end I only got one slice. Saving my waistline I suppose…

Cheesecake, lemon and ginger are three of my favourite things, and as I suspected they go very well together – I will definitely be making this again!

Ginger biscuit base, not-too-sweet lemony cheesecake and tangy lemon curd glaze – the pictures seriously do not do this cheesecake justice, I promise you!

Lemon and ginger cheesecake (loosely based on Angela Nilsen’s Ultimate New York Cheesecake):

Serves 12 normal people, or 2 very hungry men

  • 200g gingernut biscuits
  • 35g butter, melted
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 600g light cream cheese
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3tbsp cornflour
  • zest and juice of 3 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g creme fraiche
  • 2tbsp lemon curd

Blitz the biscuits in a food processor with the ground ginger until they form fine crumbs, then gradually add in the melted butter until the mixture looks like wet sand (every time I make cheesecake the amount of butter I need changes, so you may need a little more or a little less). Press the biscuit mixture into a greased 9″ springform tin, and chill in the fridge while you make the filling.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth, then gradually add in the caster sugar and cornflour. Add the lemon zest and juice, then the eggs, beating all the time and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Finally, stir in the creme fraiche and pour into the tin on top of the biscuit base.

Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 110 and bake for a further hour, or until set but with a wobble.

My top tip for avoiding a cracked top is to have a baking tray with boiling water in the bottom of the oven to create steam, but have it one shelf below your cheesecake so there’s no danger of water leaking in and turning the base soggy.

Leave to cool in the oven with the heat turned off overnight. When cool, chill in the fridge until completely cold.

To make the lemon curd glaze, stir in a little boiling water to loosen, just enough to make the curd pourable. I used the Pink Whisk’s lemon curd recipe, which is foolproof! Remove the cheesecake from the tin and slide onto a serving plate, then pour the glaze on top and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.

Chocolate orange cheesecake

I was forced to choose, I’d probably say cheesecake is my favourite dessert (with ice cream a very close second).

Chocolate cheesecake though, not a fan at all. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always preferred plain cheesecake with a fruity topping – chocolate cheesecake just never seems to be as good.

Unlike me, the friendly pony likes everything better if there’s chocolate involved, which is how I ended up making this chocolate orange cheesecake.

As chocolate cheesecakes go, it was probably the best I’ve had – the texture was certainly spot on, and it was good enough for me to have several slices!

The recipe could also be easily adapted to other flavours – the original recipe suggests coffee, I think a mint version could work well too… So this will definitely be my go-to chocolate cheesecake recipe in the future.

Chocolate orange cheesecake (adapted from Lindt):

  • 250g chocolate digestives
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 575g cream cheese
  • 60g double cream
  • 200g orange flavoured chocolate (I used a Terry’s chocolate orange and made up the rest of the weight with dark chocolate)
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 100ml orange juice
  • 4 eggs

Blend the digestives in a food processor until they turn into crumbs, then gradually pour the butter in while the mixer is running until the mixture comes together. ¬†Press down into the base of a 9″ round springform tin, then leave to chill in the fridge while you make the filling.

Melt the chocolate in a saucepan with the orange juice over a low heat, then set aside to cool. Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until no lumps remain, then add in the cream and eggs. Fold in the chocolate orange mixture, then pour into the prepared tin and bake at 120 degrees for about an hour and a half, or until the cheesecake is set but still has a wobble.

I put a tray filled with water in the bottom of the oven to create steam while the cheesecake is cooking, and leave it to cool in the oven for at least 2 hours before turning out of the tin. Chill overnight before serving.


EDIT – I’ve kindly been asked by Lisa of Sweet as Sugar Cookies to link this to Sweets for a Saturday – an awesome round up of delicious looking cakes and bakes – perfect for ruining the new year’s diet!

Caramel apple cheesecake

Cheesecake is basically my favourite dessert, and also one of my favourite things to bake.

Over the years I’ve been making this recipe, I’ve adapted and tweaked it to what I think is cheesecake perfection – although of course that depends on your personal cheesecake preference!

I know most people prefer a biscuit base, but I like a sponge base and that’s what I’ve used here. It’s an easy recipe, but quite time consuming – it’s best done over 2 days if you have the time.

The basic cheesecake will suit any number of toppings, and is equally delicious plain, but as I had a large bag of apples waiting to be used, I went for caramel apple.

It’s insanely calorific, and a bit pricey to make, but well worth it for a special occasion, or just if you need some indulgence!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake:

For the sponge base:

  • 65g butter
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 4tbsp cornflour
  • 1 egg
  • 65g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder

Line a 9″ springform tin with baking paper, and grease the paper and sides of the tin. Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, then beat in the egg and fold in the flour and baking powder until combined. Spread into the tin and bake at 180 for about 20 minutes, until golden and springy.

For the cheesecake:

  • 900g full-fat cream cheese
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 375ml double cream

Beat the cream cheese to soften, then add in the sugar and cornflour and beat until well combined. Add in the eggs one at a time, then add the lemon zest, juice and vanilla extract. Finally, fold in the cream, until it’s mixed in well. It should be a fairly liquid consistency.

Remove the sponge from the tin when cooled, grease the sides of the tin and put the sponge back (with the paper still on the bottom). Pour the cheesecake mixture on top, and bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes. When you are pre-heating the oven, leave a baking tray at the bottom to heat up, then when you put the cheesecake in pour a couple of centimetres of hot water into the tray, to make the oven nice and steamy.

After the first 15 minutes of baking, turn the heat down to 110 degrees, and bake for a further hour and a half. When the time is up, the cheesecake should be set but still have a bit of a wobble in the centre. Turn the heat off, but leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool for at least 3 hours, when it can be transferred to the fridge to chill overnight.

For the caramel apples:

  • 3-4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into wedges
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown or muscovado sugar

Heat the butter in a saucepan until melted, then add in the sugars. Stir until dissolved and bubbling, then add in the apples. When the apples are starting to soften, remove from the saucepan and set aside. Keep cooking the sugar and butter mix until it becomes a thick syrup, then stir into the apples.

To assemble the cheesecake, run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and remove the side of the tin. Cover a plate with clingfilm, then turn the cheesecake upside down on to it. Take the paper of the bottom of the sponge, then flip back onto a cake board or whatever you want to serve it on. When the apples are cooled, spoon on top of the cheesecake and serve!

Blackberry crumble cheesecake

This cheesecake was inspired by one of the same name by John Torrode, but I think it’s safe to say I made enough changes to call it my own.

I took the base of this cheesecake, as the comments on the original said it had a bit too much butter. I then decided to use this recipe for the filling, as I’d been wanting to try it for a while (to see if a low calorie cheesecake can really be as good as the full fat version).

I planned to use the topping of the original crumble cheesecake, but I didn’t like the fact that I’d have less control over how long to bake the cheesecake – if the crumble wasn’t browned I’d have to leave it in, even if the cheesecake was ready to come out.

For that reason, I followed the method of the Angela Nilsen recipe (ish) and made a separate crumble mixture and berry mixture to go on top once it was cooked.

I won’t lie, there’s quite a lot of faffing around with the way I made this, but it was well worth the effort. My only complaint is that the base went a bit soggy, and I’m not quite sure why – any suggestions?

I made this for my colleague Ryan’s last day at work before moving to Wales – he was very pleased!

Blackberry crumble cheesecake

For the base:

  • 140g digestive biscuits
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 85ml melted butter

Blitz the biscuits and sugar in a food processor until they’re in fine crumbs (or alternatively crush with a rolling pin). Gradually add in the melted butter, then press into a 9″ round springform tin. My top tip for cheesecakes is if your in has a lip around the edge of the base like mine, turn it upside down – it will make it a million times easier to get the cheesecake off later!

Bake for 10 minutes at 180 degrees, then leave to cool while you make the filling.

For the filling:

  • 300g light Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3tbsp cornflour
  • zes and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1tsp vanilla extrract
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g light fromage frais
  • 100g fresh blackberries

Beat together the cream cheese, sugar and cornflour until well mixed and no lumps remain. Add in the lemon zest, juice and the vanilla extract, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the fromage frais, then the blackberries, then pour onto the base and bake for 10 minutes at 220 degrees.

After the 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 110 degrees and bake for a further 35 minutes. Leave in the oven overnight if possible, or at least 2 hours. This helps to stop it cracking, and I also bake my cheesecakes with a baking tray with 1cm hot water in it to create steam, for the same reason (look, it works!)

For the topping:

  • 125g blackberries
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 100g flour
  • 50g butter
  • 50g demerara sugar

Heat the caster sugar with 3-4tbsp water in a saucepan. When it is boiling, add in the blackberries and cook until thick and syrupy, but with whole berries remaining.

Rub together the butter and flour to make coarse breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar. Spread the mixture onto a baking tray and cook for about 20 minutes at 180 degrees, taking out every five minutes to mix up with a fork.

Spread the berry mix over the cheesecake, then sprinkle the crumble mix on top. Chill in the fridge overnight, then serve.

Nutella cheesecake squares

A few weeks ago, this post appeared on Freshly Pressed, and as soon as I saw it I knew Nutella cheesecake layer bars were going straight on my to-bake list.

The recipe calls for graham crackers, which I don’t think you can get in the UK, so I looked around and ended up using this recipe from Coconut and Lime. Thanks is still due to the Midnight Baker though for being my inspiration!

After making the base for the cheesecake, I decided it didn’t look thick enough, so I doubled the quantity. I think this was a bit of a mistake as the cheese bit should really be the star of the show, but no one else seemed to think it was a problem.

Although I followed the recipe to the letter, there was no way my cheesecake mixture was going to be spread nicely in two layers.

I ended up pouring in the plain cheesecake as per the recipe, then slowly pouring in the nutella mix in a spiral to create a sort of swirly pattern, which actually worked quite well.

These cheesecakes went down really well so I would definitely make again, although I would probably try a different base, maybe a traditional biscuity one…

Baked raspberry cheesecake

I have been massively slack in updating this blog recently, and have a huge backlog of things I’ve baked but not posted about yet. This cheesecake I actually made for my mum’s birthday on June 15th, over 2 weeks ago!

But, it was an awesome cheesecake, so better late than never.

If I had to pick one thing as my baking ‘speciality’, it would probably be cheesecake. I’ve been adapting one recipe for a couple of years and now have it down to an art, with WAY over-complicated cooking methods – but it is delicious.

My mum doesn’t like spongey cakes, so I knew for certain I would make her a cheesecake for her birthday (the big five-oh!) but it took me a while to decide on the flavour.

I was toying with the idea of a Lorraine Pascal white chocolate amaretto cheesecake, but instead decided to go for baked raspberry. I’ve made plenty before with raspberries on top, but never actually in the cheesecake mix, so I was excited to try something new.

I adapted the recipe from the BBC Good Food version, which had received rave reviews so I thought it was worth a go. Me and my mum both prefer a sponge base to a biscuit base though, so I made that the night before – making the whole cheesecake a 3 day effort…

Day 1

  • 60g butter
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 40g self raising flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Beat all the ingredients together in one go (as it isn’t particularly important for the cake to rise). Spread the mix into a 9″ round springform cake tin, lined with greaseproof paper, an bake for about 20 minutes at 180 degrees. Leave to cool for an hour or so, or overnight as I did.
Day 2
  • 600g cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 142ml pot sour cream
  • 200g raspberries
Beat all the ingredients apart from the raspberries in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the raspberries then pour the mix on top of the cooled sponge base. Place on a high shelf in the oven, with a baking tray with 1cm boiling water on the shelf underneath. Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 110 degrees and cook for a further hour and a half. After an hour and a half, turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake in to cool, preferably overnight (this prevents cracking on top).
Day 3
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g white chocolate
  • icing sugar to taste
  • 15 raspberries
Melt the white chocolate over a low heat, then beat into the cream cheese. Sift in the icing sugar little by little until it reaches the right level of sweetness, then spread over the top of the cheesecake. Place the raspberries on top to decorate, then remove the whole thing from the tin. Serve and enjoy!
(Apologies for the hideous lighting, but the photos were rushed as my family were keen to eat!)